Skip to main content

Green Tribunal "sets aside" eco-clearance to Adani Hazira port expansion in Gujarat, imposes Rs 25 crore fine

By Our Representative
In a ruling of far-reaching significance, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Pune, has set aside environmental clearance (EC) to the Adani Hazira Port Pvt Ltd (AHPPL) dated May 3, 2013, granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for the further development of port activities at Hazira, South Gujarat.
The order, delivered by Justice VR Kingaonkar and Dr Ajay A Deshpande, imposes a penalty of Rs 25 crore by continuing with the expansion “undaunted” in the absence of EC and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance.
The order says that the penalty should to be deposited to the district collector, Surat for the “restoration” of access of the boats to traditional fishermen in the seawater through mouth of the creek, affected by “closing/narrowing down mouth of the creek.”
The order also requires the Adani Group to pay Rs 2 lakh each to four appellants – the Hazira Macchimar Samiti, represented through its President Dhansukhbhai Banabhai Rathod, Maheshbhai Rathod, Hasmuckhbhai Rathod, and Vimalbhai Khalasi – as litigation cost.
Cases of alleged environmental non-compliance by the Adani Group in the past have been used by the powerful international NGO Greenpeace in its challenge to the Adanis’ ambitious plan to develop the world’s biggest coalmining project in Australia’s Queensland province, predicting irreversible ecological damage.
Examining the minutes of 117th meeting of the Environmental Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the MoEF, in which CRZ clearance for the AHPPL was considered, the NGT said, they do not reflect the detailed plan with budgetary provisions for corporate social responsibility (CSR) which was committed.
Pointing out that “there appears no such verification and compliances”, the judgment observes, “Least to say, it is indicative of casual approach of EAC to recommend the proposal which was approved further by Environmental Impact Assessment Authority, i.e. MoEF, while granting the impugned EC.”
The judgment further says, care was “not taken by the MoEF” about the need to take “consent to establish” hazardous material storage facility from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board “to avoid any future mishap from hazardous products/material, likely to be brought to the port and stored.”
Perusing the maps, the order states, go to show that most of mangroves area has been “destructed”, noting, “The creek situated in north-east corner is narrowed down due to reclamation of land, as a result of port/cargo activities and port expansion activities.”
The order, which is also significant as it "indicts" a business house known to be closest to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says, “Instead of expanding port work in phase-out manner, expansion was already practically done almost without obtaining EC and CRZ clearance.”
The order states, this came to light after the NGT “directed the MoEF to examine these maps with earlier authentic maps and get superimposed status map, in order to demonstrate whether a bottleneck is artificially created due to reclamation of land and the Port activities of AHPPL, which could cause denial of access to the traditional boats of fishermen folks of Hajira.”
“Obviously, AHPPL laboured under impression that it can manage with the authorities to alleviate the problems”, the order underlines, adding, “One of the examples, which we can see from the record is that the AHPPL sought modification of terms of the earlier EC dated May 3, 2003, without any reasonable explanation and without any prior study of environmental impact.”
The result, it says, was that “this area, which once had abundance of mangroves stretches as per MoEF’s own record, presently does not have any mangrove vegetation, clearly indicating the environmental degradation and damage.”
---
Click HERE to download complete NGT order

Comments

TRENDING

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.